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Surge in COVID-19 cases in Indonesia linked to emerging variants

Indonesia’s Ministry of Health warns of a notable COVID-19 surge due to new virus variants.

This uptick in cases isn’t isolated to Indonesia alone; countries like Malaysia and Singapore are also experiencing similar resurgences.

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INDONESIA: The Ministry of Health in Indonesia has reported a notable increase in COVID-19 cases, attributing the surge to the emergence of new variants of the virus.

The Head of the Communication and Public Service Bureau of the Ministry of Health, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, revealed that the predominant variants causing the uptick are Eris or EG.5 and EG.2.

According to Nadia, the rise in cases is a consequence of the new variants, marking a significant shift from the usual 10-20 cases per week to a staggering 267 cases per week in the past week alone.

“The dominant variants in Indonesia at the moment are EG.5 and EG.2, similar to the situation in Singapore,” she explained on Tuesday (5 Dec).

Illustration: Personal hygiene. (Photo: busybeeeducation.com)

The increase in COVID-19 cases is not limited to Indonesia, as several other countries, including Malaysia and Singapore, have also witnessed a resurgence.

In response to the escalating situation, Nadia offered several recommendations to the public to avoid the spread of the virus during this surge.

First and foremost, she urged individuals to wear masks, especially if they are feeling unwell. Mask usage is also advised for the elderly and individuals with underlying health conditions when in public spaces.

Nadia emphasized the importance of regular handwashing and advised seeking medical attention promptly if any symptoms are experienced. Furthermore, she advised the public to postpone travel plans to countries experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases and urged the completion of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Minister of Health, Budi Gunadi Sadikin, echoed Nadia’s sentiments and called for a dual approach to protection involving vaccination and adherence to health protocols.

“We are observing an increase, but fortunately, we still have vaccinations. If everyone gets vaccinated, we should be in good shape,” said Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin on Monday (4 Dec).

To address the rising cases, Minister Budi recommended that those who have not received a COVID-19 booster dose should promptly access healthcare facilities for vaccination. He reassured the public that COVID-19 vaccines are still available for free until the end of December 2023.

Minister Budi also provided insights into the current situation in Indonesian hospitals, stating that the surge in cases in Singapore has not resulted in a significant influx of patients in Indonesian hospitals.

“We haven’t seen a spike in hospital admissions. While there is an increase in those affected, the immunity built through vaccinations is proving effective,” he remarked.

The Ministry of Health is closely monitoring the situation and maintaining an emphasis on preventive measures, especially as the emergence of the Eris variant becomes a focal point.

Symptoms associated with the Eris variant include headaches, sneezing, non-productive cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, muscle pain, fatigue, diarrhea, and alterations in the sense of smell without complete loss of function.

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